The whole thing happened so fast! Four days. Twenty-five eager, women entrepreneurs. An unfamiliar culture on the other side of the world. Shiny new business visa in hand, I was off to Jaipur, India – the famed Pink City – to be a mentor in Project AIRSWEEE (the All-India Road Show on Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship).
Short rewind. Last fall, I became a charter member of the brand-new TiE Global Philadelphia chapter. Through TiE, I met dozens of smart, community-minded business leaders – among them Sashi Reddi, a successful serial entrepreneur and just a really good dude. In early January I received a note from Sashi about AIRSWEEE, a new program from TiE Women created to educate and inspire women in small cities across India to pursue careers in entrepreneurship. Immediately, I wanted to be a part of this. With Sashi’s encouragement, I eagerly applied for one of eight spots for U.S. women entrepreneur mentors. A few weeks later I excitedly received my acceptance letter and prepared for an amazing adventure in Jaipur!
I spent most of my career working for others – large companies and a few smaller, entrepreneur-led companies. Although I dabbled in some entrepreneurial follies early in my career, the real adrenaline rush of entrepreneurship didn’t become real for me until I suddenly (and frankly without much hought) quit my senior-level job several years ago to start my own agency. As “The E-Myth” aptly describes, I woke up one day to an entrepreneurial seizure and never looked back. But how much could I offer based on my few short years as a “real” entrepreneur and what lessons had I learned that I could pass on to this group of twenty-five in India?
Turns out I found a few lessons to pass on – and relatable stories to share. I learned a lot and made lifelong friends from the U.S. and India. I look forward to writing more about my experience with the outstanding AIRSWEEE program, and about why these programs are so important for women entrepreneurs around the world! Check out the video above for a short intro – and please stay tuned for more.
About TiE Global (TiE Inc.). TiE Global is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of fostering entrepreneurship globally with nearly 12,500 members, including over 2,600 charter members in 63 affiliate chapters across 19 countries.
About the All-India Road Show on Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship (AIRSWEEE) Program. Project AIRSWEE’s objective is to unleash value creation amongst aspiring young women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India by empowering them with knowledge of entrepreneurship. The cities were Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Warangal (Telengana), Jaipur (Rajasthan), Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Durgapur (West Bengal). Project AIRSWEEE received a tremendous response from applicants in each of the five cities. 25 participants, mostly in the start-up stage of the entrepreneurial journey, participated in each city after a rigorous screening process. The initiative has received funding support from the US Mission in India, US Department of State. The program was conducted from February 21, 2017 to March 9, 2017.